I have an old iron skillet I inherited from my grandmother. It’s as black as night and seasoned from decades of use and it’s hands down my favorite, can’t-live-without kitchen item for both it’s usefulness and the memories it brings. I remember my grandmother, during a time in my life when I lacked a both a solid moral compass and a decent place to live, offering me both. I lived with her for awhile and she cooked everything in that iron skillet. Eggs and bacon, grilled cheese, basic good food to anchor a young woman who’s soul was drifting.
My fondest memory of Granny had her taking meaty lamb chops or club steaks, coating them with dijon mustard, salt, and pepper then melting lots of butter in her iron skillet and when it was nice and hot, tossing in the chops or steaks. She’d cook them rare and we’d eat them in her kitchen with buttered asparagus, salad and baked red potatoes.
Thankfully, in the following years I found both my compass and a decent place to live and when Granny could cook no more, I ended up with her skillet. And I’m so glad because nothing does an upside down cake better. Or cornbread. Or frittatas. Or lamb chops. And it brings sweet memories of my grandmother each time I use it.
Because my husband Mike and I have recently gone truly gluten free, I’m doing all my recipes that way from now on. You can always substitute regular flour if you wish for my gluten free one but the more we learn about the hybridization of wheat and how they harvest it, the more convinced I am I don’t ever want to consume conventional wheat again. It’s just too much of a health risk so we’ve made a choice. Here’s my philosophy:
Being sick is hard. Being healthy is hard. Choose your hard. I choose healthy!
I think you’ll love this recipe for Gluten Free Cranberry Upside Down Cake. It’s a soft, buttery cake with lovely fragrant spices, sour cream, and coconut sugar and tangy cranberries for the perfect contrast. It’s an easy cake to put together, impressive to look at with it’s cascade of lovely cranberries and a beautiful alternative to pumpkin pie. If you use white sugar, your cake will be much lighter in color than mine, which is perfectly okay!
Oh, and I’m doing my recipes in an easier format for you to copy and print. I will be changing over all my current recipes to this format in the coming months. I think it will be a lot easier for you to read and print out for later. Let me know how you like it!
- ½ cup organic butter (1 stick)
- 3 cups coconut or organic white sugar, divided
- 2 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen but if frozen, do not thaw
- 1½ cups gluten free flour blend (I use King Arthur Flour Gluten Free Baking Mix)
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons organic butter, softened
- 2 large organic eggs, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¾ cup organic sour cream or plain yogurt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter an 8-10 inch iron skillet, cake pan or 8x8 pyrex baking dish.
- Melt 1 stick butter in a sauce pan. Add 1½ cups of sugar and melt until the mixture is bubbling and hot. Pour into the buttered skillet or cake pan. Scatter the cranberries on top.
- Sift together the flour, baking soda, spices and salt; set aside. In a medium bowl, beat the remaining 6 tablespoons of butter with 1½ cups sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in vanilla and sour cream. Mix in the dry ingredients. Pour the batter over the cranberries in the pan. Set the pan on a cookie sheet to catch any drips.
- Bake for about 45 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack for exactly 10 minutes, then run a knife around the outer edge. Invert onto a serving plate. If any cranberries are stuck to the pan, just add them to the cake.
- Serve with homemade whipped cream or vanilla ice cream .
- Sometimes I use the zest of an orange and add it to the cranberries.
- Feel free to add a ½ cup of toasted pecans, walnuts or hazelnuts to the cranberries for a nice nutty crunch.
- Another idea, thinly slice one tart apple, like a Granny Smith, and lay the slices atop the butter and sugar mix in the pan. Use 1 cup of cranberries and scatter over the apples for an apple-cranberry upside down cake.
- This cake would work perfectly for a traditional pineapple upside down cake.
- I use King Arthur Flour All-Purpose Baking Mix Gluten Free for this cake.
- For coconut sugar I use this one: Organic Coconut Palm Sugar.
- Here are links to my Thanksgiving recipes: Turkey, Gravy and Stuffing, Sides and Dessert.
I hope you have a wonderful holiday season this year. May the Lord fill your heart with wonderful food, family and lots of Thanksgiving and joy!